The Plympton Board of Selectmen met Monday, July 8. The meeting began with Co-chair of the Open Space Committee Linda Leddy giving an update on two municipal lots that are for sale. A deal for one of the two lots recently fell apart during the purchase and sale process leaving two lots still available.
Leddy was originally told that the lots could not be listed in the MLS (multiple listing service) without redoing the legal work and paying the buyers’ fees. After speaking with a different broker, however, it was discovered that the lots could be listed in the MLS after paying just a flat fee of either $500 or $1000 and stating in the listing that the seller would not pay buyers’ fees. The broker working with Leddy said that Plympton was a desirable location with high land values.
The previous difficulty in selling the lots was likely due to lack of exposure; a problem that listing in the MLS should solve. The Board voted to move forward with this method of advertising.
Town Administrator Elizabeth Dennehy asked the Board to approve a proposal from Door Tech Inc. out of Bridgewater to make the town library doors accessible. The motion was unanimously approved. The Board also approved the appointments of Colleen Thompson to the Zoning Board of Appeals and Edward Sealey as gas inspector. Both appointments are for one year.
Town Clerk Patricia Detterman addressed the Board about concerns over the vault that houses the town’s records and important paperwork. Detterman said that the roof is leaking over the area where the vault is housed and is concerned that the contents are vulnerable to fire and water damage. Detterman visted other town halls and spoke with other town clerks regarding their criteria for the management of old records and deeds.
Additionally, Plympton Police Chief Patrick Dillon showed Detterman the manner in which the police department houses their paper records. Detterman asked the Board for their permission to have an electrician come in and talk to her about what the vault is capable of right now and what the possibilities are to make it safer in the future. Board member Mark Russo said, “I think there are a lot of pieces that we have to look at; we probably just need to get a sense of this stuff, see what it’s going to cost, get some quotes, and I think we’ll be looking at town meeting.” He continued, “I’m totally in favor of finally getting this thing done.” The Board voted to approve having an electrician come out to inspect the vault and offer suggestions for improvements.
Both Detterman and her assistant Jill Palenstijn have recently attended two meetings with the U.S. Census Bureau. It was advised that the town clerk meet with the selectmen to form a Complete Count Committee dedicated to ensuring that residents complete the census. It was also recommended that the council consist of a variety of trusted voices from the town such as those from a local church or the Council on Aging. The preference is that the census is completed electronically so the council would be responsible for setting up workshops at the library where the not so tech savvy could be guided through the process. Either count committee members or possibly high school students completing community service could volunteer at the workshops. The hope is that the census would be completed upon the first mailer that goes out with recipients responding online although the option to return via snail mail is still available. The last resort, and most expensive option, is the door to door approach for those that have not responded. The Board asked Detterman to reach out to possible volunteers for the Complete Count Committee to be voted on and appointed by the Board. Detterman said, “We have a small town; we can do this, I’d like to be one of the first ones to finish the census count.”
Dennehy presented her update to the Board. She noted that there are several applications in for the position of animal control officer. The Board was in agreement that Chief Dillon and Selectman Russo will meet with the applicants and select finalists to go before the entire Board. Russo, who is a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, joked about bringing his dog along for the interview. Dennehy also sent notes to the Halifax and Carver town administrators about the possibility for shared opportunities including joint grants or shared services for the Council on Aging. The Selectmen agreed that there is a great deal of enthusiasm for shared services and cited the success of Area 58 Community Access Media which serves Plympton as well as Carver and Halifax.
Dennehy also presented to the Board a new plan to hold department heads more accountable for their individual budgets and for keeping on track with said budgets. Finance Committee member Kathryn Shepard and Dennehy agreed to draft a joint letter with a new attachment to redo how transfer requests are done adding additional steps to ensure better collaboration and communication between the various departments, committees, and selectmen. The letter would be approved by the Board of Selectmen prior to being dispersed to the various department heads.
Town Accountant Barbara Gomez agreed to do a monthly financial printout to show department heads where they are in terms of their spending for the year. Each department head would be required to sign off on the printout to acknowledge they are aware of the state of their budget. They would also be expected to decide if a meeting with the Finance Committee or Board of Selectmen would be necessary to review their expenditures thus far.
Board of Selectmen Chair John Traynor expressed some concern over having all department heads participate in these additional requirements. The Board agreed and decided that only departments with a budget of a certain size would be subjected to this level of oversight.
Dennehy also briefly mentioned a letter from the Plympton Fire Chief requesting rate changes for the fire department details. In it, it was noted that rates had not been updated since July 1, 2015.
The Board also voted to approve the use of the Town House for several PAYS (Plympton Athletic Youth Sports) meetings on July 11, August 5, and August 8 contingent upon a room being available. They also voted to approve the use of the Town House on August 21 from 10 am until noon as the Council on Aging will have people handing out Go Packs to elders at no charge. The packs are valued at $50 apiece.
One of the final pieces of business discussed was the opening on the Community Preservation Committee. Russo said of the committee, “It’s a good committee, it’s a really good committee. It’s one of the best jobs in town. We actually have money. People come to us with good projects, we help spiff them up and make them even better. It’s a happy committee.”
Anyone interested in serving on the Community Preservation Committee should contact Russo.
chairman of that Committee.